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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I'm new to the forum and fairly new to Chevelle's in general. I've been thinking about restoring or building one from scratch. Are there a parts list or assembly drawings, etc. available? I would think someone would have put together a spreadsheet that may be available.

Thanks!
 

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Welcome to Team Chevelle.
I have been in this hobby for over 35 years and I never used a spread sheet for it :)
However, an assembly manual particular to your year of interest would be helpful in learning how these cars go together.
 

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Welcome and good luck...Building one from scratch is kinda like what most of us did when we restored ours...Thinking it was only going to be a little work and eventually the can o worms is opened wider than the Grand canyon and yep total frame off restoration.
I'd say you may be better getting a good bones car so the major part is done like the shell of the car being welded together. Not saying it cannot be done.. but wow the cost...? i don't know sounds like a fun project... major parts are all available... soring them while working is another area you will need to think about. the having all your welds certified... as well Like making a race car.. or making changes to a Drag/ race car all has to be safety inspected and then there is your state laws...many are different... when registering the car and giving it a Vin.
Interesting but I think if it were me.. I'd look at one that needed work but was together... to start with...Just me. old Brain...🤣
 

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1970 Chevelle SS396
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Yes, unless you don't plan to drive it in a long time. You don't look old enough to be retired so you're talking many years to complete what you described. Capt. Casey hit the major points. If you can find yourself a numbers matching SS396 as you mentioned then start the rebuild of the car with that. If is has a built sheet then you really got something to work with. Good luck and let us know what you decide or what you find. Welcome to the forum!
 

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What does numbers matching mean?
Well sir it means the difference between a car that has had a different engine trans and other items put in it after it was made. Also about 50K as well give or take. as prices have climbed.
So if you found a documented car say a 70 SS that was for sale and had the original engine... trans and rear end.. Those are the three big ticket items not to mention the frame of the car.
The numbers on these items will match a build sheet for that particular car... meaning it has not ever been tampered with in a huge way. So yes exhaust and wheels tires may have come and gone headers added or not.. repainted etc.. It is still a numbers matching car. In most cases, It is worth more as a basket case than a restored car trying to mimic a true SS . IE an SS clone.
Some are really good but if you look close and know what to look for you will see and learn the differences...especially when looking to buy one. Point in case a new member wanting buy just that a 70 SS.. It is not an SS and many members have pointed out the subtle differences not to mention the crate motor that was in it.. asking only 89K Hurry quick won't last long! dealer...selling.
I am not an expert on these features but there are a lot of good people on this site that will answer your questions truthfully... You may not like what you hear as we all have a preconceived idea of what we want... It's when we get told it doesn't exist or maybe it's easier to buy a whole running/not running car that we have to be open minded...
The main thing is You are here. asking questions and Learning...Wish the Computer was around when i started this Journey...LOL
 
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1968 chevelle SS, 540ci., th400
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Welcome to the site, I want to add, be very careful on what you are looking at. Underneath that shiny new paint could be hundreds of pounds of bondo, look at the car in person, pics do not show problems very well. Good luck in your search.
 

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First off, WELCOME to the site! All of the members responses above are very valid. I'm not going to try and scare you off about starting with a bare bones car. That is exactly what I did. I bought a barely rolling chassis and a decent body, nothing else. This is not or will it ever be a numbers matching car.
Everything has to be researched, and bought. Shipping is now a major factor in the purchase of any part. If your mechanically inclined, bully for you.
If your not, well this would be a monumental task. If your just getting into the classic car scene, I would suggest a running and drivable car to start with.
Don't start with something like this. A numbers matching car will fetch big dollars in buying and selling. There are cars still out there. Do your research before pulling the trigger on a purchase. Try to find out the history of the car. A one or two owner car would be a great find. Especially if you can find the owners and get the history.

As far as a spreadsheet...Not going to happen. Part numbers change all the time, parts become obsolete, and unfortunately, a spreadsheet would for a build like this would be about a mile or so long if printed out. Some people have listed parts for a specific item or system and it was extensive.

Good luck with you endevor and project. We're here to help!
Wheel Car Tire Land vehicle Vehicle


It has taken me 5 years to get the car to this point. There is no interior, or engine and transmission. Still need wheels and tires also.
But, I will say this car is not my first rodeo. This is #3 for me.

Wheel Tire Car Land vehicle Vehicle


If your interested in some light reading, here the link to my thread on the car pictured above.
'70 Chevelle to be Reborn AKA "Frankie" | Team Chevelle (chevelles.com)
 

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1970 Chevelle SS396
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I am not an expert, but will try to clarify for you the term "numbers matching" which I learned from the guys here. The VIN number on the build sheet will match the VIN number under the windshield, number on the engine block pad (located under the alternator) and the number on the tranny. During the build process at the GM plant each build station had a build sheet pertaining to the vehicle in front of them. It would tell them what parts go on that particular vehicle. Like radio (AM, FM, 8 track), rear end (gear ratio), tranny (auto, 4 speed), engine size, etc. Once that car left a certain build station the workers would discard that build sheet not in the garbage can, but in different places on the car (under the rear bench seat, under the carpet, behind the bucket seat back, inside the door, etc.) You use that build sheet to determine if the car is indeed at "true" SS or a "clone" that someone tried to make look like a true SS by adding SS things to it. You look for a code on the your build sheet that not only has your VIN on it, but also the code "Z25 SS 396 PKG" which is what is on my 396 build sheet or any which are a true SS. People have tried to duplicate and change build sheets so you have to be careful. You can search "build sheet" here and probably see what they look like. If someone is selling a car and does not mention if there is a build sheet then you can assume it's not a numbers matching car. Do your research and learn. I would suggest contacting member Dale McIntosh and buy his books about the Chevelle. They will get you a lot of pics and info. Patrick Glen Nichols is a member expert who will go out and inspect / verify the car you are considering buying. Sorry this is so long, but that is what helped me learn how to not get taken to the cleaners by an untruthful seller.
 

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Good points John however in later years SS cars came with the option of a 350 as well as the BB 454 so the years matter as well.. Find the year you really like then that narrows the field a little.
Then go for the body style you like Coupe, Convertible, Wagon or 4 door...don't laugh The crew cabs have a great following and are less expensive to get into. Then in those there are the different levels as well depending on years...Like 300 series 300 Deluxe, the door frames are there and surround the glass, Malibu, SS. Early years had Malibu SS models.
So I suggest looking for the year you like then go from there.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
All great stuff, thanks! The reality is… I’m 49 with 5 kids ages 11-19. So I’m 10 years away from being able to afford much. Just starting to learn about it all. I’m a mechanical engineer, but never had much of an interest in cars until recently. I’ve been more into building guitars and amps, etc.

Most cars I see are so crazy expensive. It’d be nice to find one that needs some work for 10-15k. Even the smaller engine would be fine, I could upgrade that and fix things as needed. I don’t think I care about numbers matching or showing it… just working on it and driving it. I love that sound!

I think I gravitate toward the 70-71 body style… for some reason, not sure.
 

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In another post there is a bare bones 70 with parts from about 8 different cars. on ebay ..have a look it met reserve and last I looked it 2,500.00 Bucks
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
A lot of great ideas and suggestions, thanks so much. A ton of knowledge and experience on here.

I think the ideal situation for someone with my skill and ability (which isn’t a lot) would be to get a 70-72 with an i6… with good bones, minimal rust or repair required, that runs. Then I could upgrade it to a 396. I’d have to learn a lot just to do that, but not everything all at once. What’s a 396 cost?

So in that situation, do you have to upgrade the rear end as well? Is it possible? I’ve read things like 12 bolt rear end, what’s that? I would think smaller engines have lighter rear ends, bigger engines need heavier rear ends to handle the torque, right? What about the transmission, would that need upgraded too? And can You change it from automatic to stick?

thanks!
 

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What does a 396 cost...? wow that is a loaded rifle just waiting to go off! 🤣
Answer how dee p are your pockets. How fat is your wallet...OR how much do you love your kids ?? i say that because you can buy a decent crate engine for a lot less than rebuilding a stock 396 from scratch. That is if you find a block that doesn't need much work to be done to just it...to get it rebuildable. There are bare blocks are out there and it can be done... Can it be done cheaply sure...
But it may not last. Speak to an engine rebuild shop to get the cost... They will tell you shop time etc and then the parts list...there you can use your spread sheet,,,!!!
However if you were to do this with the boys It can be done...
If it were me and was me as I can turn a wrench but do not posses the skills and feel too impatient ..IE old to learn them at my age to learn to rebuild an engine from scratch.
It is nothing that get's done in a weekend over a few beers. Putting one in the car is!
So ask away... The guys will tell you about engine rebuilding. many have those skills and will tell you what you will need.
Others may say what I said crate motor. Guaranteed etc.. right out of the box into the car hook up wiring add fuel turn key it runs...maybe even runs good, minor tuning.

Again up to you... OH and I asked How much you love you kids.. because you said you have three...right?
If the car is really something to leave behind when you take the long walk towards the ticket booth when the time comes... IE die....
Who gets the car LOL 🤣🤣
 
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Here's my two cents (and you're welcome to put the two cents towards the purchase of your car) and please don't take this the wrong way: I'm not an engineer but I work with plenty of them. If you are a mechanical engineer with zero mechanic experience, it will drive you bonkers to try to rebuild an old car. Most engineers I know see the world in black and white - "the drawing says part A attaches to part B". In the real world, part A should attach to part B easily, but it never does. You'll have to figure out how to get it to attach. As my wife says, " Why do you work on that old car when you get so frustrated every time?" And my answer always is "Because I love to!" There is nothing more satisfying that when working on a car, you have to run back and forth to the parts house because they gave you the wrong part, then you find out you don't have the right tool so you have to either find someone to borrow one from or buy a new one, you bust a few knuckles trying to put it on, only to have it leak so you have to take it back off and modify it, and then several hours (or days) after what should have take a few minutes, you get to hear that engine fire up.

My suggestion - buy a running car. Drive it so you can enjoy it now. Read everything you can about cars so you can learn about how cars work. Figure out what you really want to do to it, and how much you can realistically spend, then slowly do what you have planned to it and make it your car. Being able to drive it will keep you interested. If you buy a non-running car that may take several years to get running you could easily lose interest or get tired of putting money in it without enjoying it. And if you sell it before it's finished you won't get near what you have invested in it. Plus having a running car may get your wife and kids interested in helping! My wife is definitely not a car person, but she loves my Chevelle. When we're out riding in it she's waving at everyone like we're in a parade.

Good luck and keep us posted!
 
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